World

San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik's father condemns deadly attack

The father of California shooter Tashfeen Malik says he condemns and regrets his daughter's action and the killings in San Bernardino.

'I am in such pain that I cannot even describe it,' Gulzar Ahmad Malik says from Saudi Arabia

Tashfeen Malik is pictured in this undated handout photo provided by the FBI. (REUTERS)

The father of California shooter Tashfeen Malik says he condemns and regrets his daughter's action and the killings in San Bernardino.

Gulzar Ahmad Malik spoke to The Associated Press by telephone Wednesday from Jiddah, in Saudi Arabia. He says he is "very, very sad."

He said: "I am in such pain that I cannot even describe it."

The father says he recorded his statement with Saudi intelligence and that he wouldn't like to go beyond that.

The Saudi Interior Ministry has said that Gulzar Ahmed Malik has been a resident in the kingdom since the early 1980s. His daughter was from Pakistan but travelled to Saudi Arabia.

Tashfeen Malik and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, opened fire on Farook's co-workers at a holiday party a week ago, killing 14 people.

The two San Bernardino shooters were radicalized at least two years ago and had discussed jihad and martyrdom as early as 2013, one year before they married, FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday.

FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday before the Senate judiciary committee. Comey said the two San Bernardino shooters were radicalized at least two years ago and had discussed jihad and martyrdom as early as 2013. (Susan Walsh/Associated Press)

Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee that investigators believe that Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were radicalized even before they began their online relationship and that Malik held extremist views before she arrived in the U.S. last year.

He told the panel that the two "as early as the end of 2013 were talking to each other about jihad and martyrdom before they became engaged and married and were living in the U.S."

The disclosure means that Malik's radicalization had already begun when she applied for a visa to come to the U.S. to get married, and that the government's vetting process apparently failed to detect it. Comey said he didn't know enough to say whether weaknesses in the visa process enabled her to enter the U.S.

Malik came to the United States in July 2014 from Pakistan after being approved for a K-1, or fiancée visa. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has said the Obama administration is now reviewing the program. He did not say what changes were being considered. 
Tashfeen Malik, (L), and Syed Farook are pictured passing through Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in this July 27, 2014 handout photo obtained by Reuters. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Reuters)

Malik married Farook the following month. Farook was born in Chicago in 1987 and raised in southern California.

FBI officials had previously said that the couple had been radicalized for "quite some time," but the disclosure Wednesday was the most specific yet about the timeline of their relationship and progression toward extremism.

Comey said the couple was clearly inspired by a foreign terror organization, but that investigators did not yet know whether their online courtship was arranged by such a group or developed naturally on its own.

"It would be a very, very important thing to know," he said.

The FBI director described the couple as an example of homegrown violent extremists who appear to have radicalized "in place," drawing a distinction between the San Bernardino attack and the one last month in Paris that officials suspect involved planning and training in Syria.

Comey declined to say what role, if any, encrypted communications played in last week's massacre.

Though he said the Obama administration was not seeking to address concerns over data encryption on smartphones, he said he remained concerns that criminals, terrorists and spies were using such technology to evade detection.

"Increasingly, we are unable to see what they say, which gives them a tremendous advantage," he said.

He said one of the gunmen in last May's shooting outside a Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, had exchanged more than 100 messages prior to the attack that investigators still had been unable to access.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.